Tykhonina Aliona

Greetings, my name is Tykhonina Aliona Serhiivna. I am 40 years old and a mother of two sons. The eldest, Anton, is 10 years old — he has a severe form of disability. The youngest, Mykola, is only 5. Before the war, we lived in Kharkiv — a very large and beautiful city, which had many architectural monuments, parks and universities. The first capital… It was Kharkiv that the residents of Ukraine called the city of students among themselves, because there were the best universities here. Unfortunately, there were…

I have a higher technical education by profession as a designer of metal structures. I managed to work in my specialty for almost 6 years. I had a position in a project company. However, after the birth of the eldest son, I had to forget about my career. Anton has a complex form of disability, so I have to take care of him 24/7. Of course, I can no longer work in the office, especially since there are almost no services for such special children in our city.

It was this situation that stimulated my development. I started knitting for myself, using both a hook and knitting needles. Subsequently, I created my own page on Instagram and tried to develop it, but there were not many orders, so now I knit mainly for the soul and my own pleasure. I am also fond of embroidery, sewing and pilates.

My quiet and fairly stable life changed on 24.02.22. After 5 a.m., my husband and I woke up to the sounds of explosions. He had told me before that war was about to start, but I didn’t take it seriously. So that day I felt completely helpless… We didn’t know what to do… Through the window we saw a lot of cars that were hurrying out of the city.

At first, we stayed at home and followed the news. But the documents were collected in a pile. After all, although this is our first experience of the war, I talked a lot with women displaced from Donbas. I could feel their pain, and I knew we shouldn’t expect anything good.

When the war began, for a long time I simply could not believe that such a thing was even possible. The first week my children and I were at home. During the alarm, we did not go to the basement — we hid in the corridor. After all, the elevator was turned off on the first day. So, I couldn’t even imagine how we would go down together with the kids, because Anton has a disability. There were also problems with the light. There was no electricity for several days, but then the network was repaired. Soon the gas was turned off, because a rocket flew to the neighboring entrance, which damaged the pipe.

The situation in the city was rapidly deteriorating. The explosions became very loud, and the number of attacks increased every day. Neighboring houses began to burn, people were dying… That’s when we realized that we couldn’t wait any longer. Time to leave.

When we finally decided that we would look for a safe place in another part of Ukraine, the mobile connection in our house was very poor. The internet has disappeared altogether. But my husband somehow managed to negotiate with a friend who took us to the railway station. We immediately got on the train. To be honest, we got into the first one that happened, and didn’t even ask where it was going. The train cars were crowded. So, I asked people to give way to a child with a disability. Therefore, Anton sat more or less comfortably, and we put the younger Mykola on a backpack. We drove standing up for 14 hours. We went out in Khmelnytskyi, where I have a friend. It was she who gave us shelter.

When we arrived in Khmelnytskyi, I immediately found a place where camouflage nets are made. I really wanted to do something to help our military, so I willingly joined the team of volunteers. This has become a kind of alternative to needlework. After all, we left the house in a hurry, and took only 2 backpacks with things. Of course, there was not enough space for knitting accessories. Therefore, already in Khmelnytskyi, I bought myself knitting needles, a hook and threads. I already have 2 brand new sweaters for next winter:).

Needlework has a special place in my life. Since childhood, my mother taught me how to embroider. But a close relative showed me how to knit. I never limited myself to the knowledge I had already gained and was interested in various techniques. As a first-grader, I attended the macrame club, and in middle school – the art school in Konotop, where I was born. Here I graduated from the department of decorative and applied arts. Thanks to this, I gained a lot of skills in tailoring, knitting and embroidery. The internet gave me even more opportunities. On the web, I found training articles and videos describing various techniques and methods for creating original patterns.

Today, knitting is an integral part of my life. Holding knitting needles or a hook in my hands, I calm down. I love a pleasant tickle and softness when I touch high-quality yarn. Through needlework, I got the opportunity to show myself. After all, I create clothes that no one else has but me. I especially like to knit something long and large, such as a shawl or sweater. I like the part of creating things from top to bottom, without stitching details. I enjoy the process itself: loop by loop.

I appreciate experimenting with colors. I usually choose colors that attract the eye. Therefore, I often have several projects on the knitting needles. At the same time, I choose dark or light bright threads — depending on my mood. It’s like disconnecting from reality, which always improves my emotional condition.

When I create a new thing, it’s like I’m knitting up my own life: loop by loop. So, I dream a lot. First of all, about peace in Ukraine. I also want my family and loved ones to have the desired well-being. There are also more ordinary thoughts. I often dream of traveling with my family. I also really want to pass a practical driving test and get a driver’s license. Just before the war started, I completed a driving course, but I didn’t have time to pass the tests. However, I am sure that everything will work out, and my dreams will definitely come true.